In his last major interview with UN News, the outgoing UN human rights chief tells us that the “real pressure on this job comes from the victims and those who suffer and expect a great deal from us.”
If you don't sometimes speak out, if you don't threaten to speak out, you don't grab their attention. And I would rather err on the speaking out part than staying silent
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ZEID RA’AD AL HUSSEIN LOOKS BACK ON HIS TERM
Our job is to defend the individual victims, vulnerable communities, marginalized communities. Oppression is making a comeback. Repression is fashionable again. I don't believe anyone holding this position, even if they felt differently, ultimately can conduct business in a manner that departs too radically from the way that I've done it and my predecessors have done it. My belief is if you try to depart, you're going to hear it, and it will be extremely unpleasant for you because you're going to hear it from the very people who are suffering.
ON HIS LEGACY
If they say Zeid could have done better, I'll have to learn to live with it and accept it.
ON THE FIGHT AGAINST INJUSTICE
I saw the President after that and I said, “Why is it that all these girls are poor?” I think in many, many parts of the world, this is the point that really strikes home: that time and again, the poor suffer all the consequences.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SPEAKING OUT
ON THE CHALLENGES OF THE UNITED NATIONS
- Scourge of genocide remains a ‘threat and a reality’ today: UN human rights chief
- UN hails ‘ground-breaking’ Supreme Court ruling to decriminalize gay sex in India
- Act now to save children from rise in climate-driven extreme weather – UNICEF
- Former UN Women Director to be the new High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Nearly three million more displaced year-on-year, warns refugee agency chief, but solutions are within reach